Solar & Renewable Energy News

Solar Engineering and Photovoltaic News

Renewable Resources Contribute to Our Daily Lives

National Forest Products Week is observed every third week of October. The week is devoted to the recognition and importance of the different products coming from our forests, the people who manage and work our forests, and the different businesses that utilize forest products to improve our lives. The celebration also focuses on the role of forests and forest resources in contributing to the quest for renewable energy, especially biomass. Energy Source To generate energy that powers our homes, industries, and means of transportation, we burn fossil fuels – such as oil, gas, and coal – that produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. People tend to blame the millions of cars on the road as the main producer of greenhouse gases but the fact is that greenhouse gases from energy consumption at home are just as bad. It is estimated that an average household creates six tons of carbon dioxide each year. Renewable Energy Renewable energy refers to energy that is generated from natural resources that are renewable or continuously replenished, such as sun, wind, water, tides, geothermal heat, and various types of biomass. These energy sources are constantly renewed and cannot be exhausted, relatively speaking. Renewable energy sources are now popularly taking over traditional fossil fuels because they minimize carbon dioxide emissions and society is embracing doing their part to protect Mother Nature. Renewable Sources of Energy Some of the more popular renewable energy sources are the following: Biomass – This refers to organic materials that are converted into other forms of energy such as the clean burning biofuels that are produced through biological processes like anaerobic... read more

The World Solar Challenge: More than Your Ordinary Car Race

A race of solar-powered cars covering 3,022 km through the Australian Outback from Darwin to Adelaide is held every other year. The race, known as World Solar Challenge or Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, attracts many teams worldwide and mostly participated in by corporations, universities, and some high schools. The race has held 13 races during its 28-year history that started in 1987. The 30th anniversary event, its 14th race, will be held October 8 – 15, 2017. The objective of the World Solar Challenge is the promotion of research on solar-powered cars. Origin of the Race The World Solar Challenge was born as a result of the pioneering work on solar power of Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins who drove Quiet Achiever, a home-built solar car, from west to east of Australia. The two pioneers inspired others to explore the unlimited boundaries of solar-powered transport. The World Solar Challenge had its first race in 1987 under the sponsorship of the South Australian Tourism Commission. It promoted the development of advanced automotive technology and offered solar power as alternative to conventional car engines. Energy Efficiency The World Solar Challenge shows the infinite boundaries of energy efficiency. While the race is basically focused on solar power, they also open the insights into new innovations on everyday vehicle technology. The innovations constitute the heart of the different types of energy that powers electric car – hybrid engines, hydrogen fuel cells, fully electric engines drawing power from solar cells on homes. The technology keeps on being honed in each version of the race. Friendly Competition Participants in the race utilize six square meters... read more

Energy Discoveries Since the Time of Columbus

Columbus Day is observed this year on Monday, October 10. It is a national holiday not only in the United States but also in many other countries in Latin America. It commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the American continent on October 12, 1492. The arrival of Columbus is now known as the Discovery of the New World despite the fact that the Vikings had earlier reached the continent, not to mention there were existing inhabitants. The Old World The world before Columbus already saw large-scale developments in many areas. The Chinese already discovered coal as an energy source. Later, they developed another source of energy – natural gas. After the Europeans began harnessing water energy to power their mills, the Chinese of the 1st century refined petroleum as another energy source. The Persians during the 10th century started using windmills for power. Discovery of the New World The arrival of Columbus changed the history of the Western hemisphere as it started centuries of trans-Atlantic conquest and colonization, which resulted in the economic growth of many countries. The development in 1600 of coal in England aided iron production, which paved way for the Industrial Revolution. Coal began to displace other sources of energy. In the US, the first commercial coal production began in Richmond, Virginia in 1748. At the beginning of the 19th century, the first natural gas well was drilled in the country. By the middle of the 19th century, oil was drilled commercially in Pennsylvania and kerosene began to displace other lamp fuels. John D. Rockefeller formed Standard Oil in 1870 that made petroleum the major... read more

What You Need to Know About Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways is a brainchild of the couple Scott and Julie Brusaw. Its primary objective is the generation of clean and renewable energy on roadways and every other surface where people can walk or drive. The master plan includes sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, plazas, bike paths, playground, garden paths, courtyards, and the like. While solar energy had already been used in many applications, the concept advanced by Solar Roadways aims to take solar energy to a new level. The concept is simple – collecting solar energy that hits the roadway and other target surfaces that are presently not utilized. The simple concept would achieve a dual purpose: cutting-edge infrastructure and a smart solar power grid. Solar Roadway conducted research which was funded by the US Department of Transportation. They proved the viability of establishing a road system that would pay for itself through renewable energy generation. Solar Roadway completed two US Department of Transportation contracts. These showed the viability of the company’s goal of making road panels that could be the backbone of the country’s smart grid, energizing businesses and homes. Importance of the Project The Department of Transportation is currently faced with problems of having insufficient income obtained from the gas tax to maintain the country’s road system. While there had been cutting-edge technology advancement in the different fields, road technology is virtually unchanged. There is a pressing demand to modernize the road system in a manner that will pay for itself. Solar Roadways’ concept can both modernize the road network and at the same time create renewable energy that will wean the country from its dependence on... read more

The Solar Power International Conference

The Solar Power International Conference, the largest gathering of manufacturers, installers, and storage professionals in the solar industry will be holding a four-day thought leadership and networking conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center – North Hall & Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 12 to 15, 2016. The leading corporations in the field of solar and renewable energy, such as EDF Renewable Energy, Astronergy, GE, Mission Solar Energy, Blattner Energy, Amer Foster Wheeler, and many other corporations will sponsor the event. Several media organizations, such as the PV Magazine Group, EnerG, Solar Industry, and plenty more, are co-sponsoring the conference. Solar Power International is recognized as the world’s leader in solar trade shows. SPI has generated tremendous success to the many professionals in solar energy and the solar industry worldwide. Features of the Conference The Solar Power International Conference is the number one business-to-business gathering of solar and related energy professionals in the entire North America. More than 15,000 professionals in the solar industry attend it from more than 75 countries. More than 600 manufacturers, vendors, and service providers are present on the exposition floor. The four-day conference can help every player in the solar industry learn and grow, as well as compete and connect with other players. The conference is a comprehensive event featuring a wide range of ideas, expertise, and information in the solar industry, through the following: Educational programming designed for exchanging ideas, sharing lessons, and providing business solutions to the solar industry. Networking opportunities to strengthen current business relationships and create new ones. Establish connections with industry professionals and vendors from around... read more

Improve the Environment & Better Yourself With Solar

We are currently experiencing explosive growth in the adoption of solar power as the better energy alternative for an improved environment. This growth may be attributed to the free-falling cost of solar panels and the incentives and rebates granted by the government to those making the switch. The main attraction of going solar is not only the savings in the cost of energy consumption. It is the positive impact on the environment and the health of the people. The wide use of solar energy systems reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that greatly harm the environment. Sustainable Energy Energy generation in the world is mainly dependent on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. These fossil fuels lie in the bowels of the Earth and their extraction is harmful to the environment. Additionally, the use of fossil fuels, resulting to pollution and destruction of the ozone layer, contributes to global warming. The fossil fuels, once exhausted, do not regenerate. Unabated use of them may result in future generation left with no energy source. Solar power, in contrast, is free and easy to extract. The sun continuously bombards Earth with its radiant energy that can power the world without interruption. Tapping such solar power does not pose any harm to the environment and the health of the people. Decreasing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Greenhouse gases are produced with the burning of fossil fuels, resulting to climate changes and global warming. Global warming and climate changes are responsible for many environmental and health issues in the world, such as rising sea levels, changes in the ecosystem, and extreme weather phenomenon. Switching... read more

Get Ready for Shorter Days and More Energy Consumption

Summer is almost over and we can expect a rainbow of colors with the onset of fall. The fall season gives people a respite from the stifling heat of summer together with problems it brought such as dry winds and brush fires. In some states such as California, summer has brought devastating fires that burned wide areas of forests including some structures and a number of casualties. Those summer problems will soon be gone but will be replaced with problems brought about by colder temperatures and shorter days. Countries in the northern hemisphere experience fewer hours of daylight during the fall season. Energy consumption dramatically increases during this period because of the need for artificial light and heat increases. Such early need for the use of artificial light is more pronounced in the residential sector where people prepare and eat dinner during the early part of the evening. Energy consumption in the industrial sector is not necessarily affected as much by the shorter days as most businesses still use artificial lighting and other energy-consumption primarily during sunlight. Saving Energy The consumption of energy during the fall season cannot be avoided because people need to continue with their daily activities regardless of the length of the day. However, there are steps that can be put in place to help minimize the consumption of energy a little bit, and every bit counts. Switching off lights when not necessary – People have the habit of leaving a room well lit even if there is nobody in that room. Developing the habit of flicking off the light switch every time somebody leaves a... read more

The Evolution of Batteries

Since their invention, there is no doubt that batteries have come a long way. In our everyday life, we are using batteries as a source of power. Our use of mobile phones, laptops, and other gadgets would not be possible without the batteries that make them portable. The earliest use of batteries can be dated back to 250 BC known as the Baghdad Battery, which is identified of Mesopotamian origin. Did you know that there is controversy over the first use of batteries for religious tingle, electroplating, or pain relief? The term battery was first used by Benjamin Franklin in 1749. The true battery that we are using today was invented by Alessandro Volta in 1800. Using discs of copper and zinc soaked in salty water, he was able to produce electrical energy. It is essentially a device that can store chemical energy which is converted to electrical energy. They can be compared to small reactors that produce energetic electrons. A different kind of battery known as the lead battery was invented in 1859 and is known to be one of the most enduring batteries. Lead batteries are still used today to start combustion engine cars and are the oldest example of a rechargeable battery. As of today, the batteries we have are a lot smaller than before. They come in various electrical capacities and sizes. Lithium-ion batteries are one of the recent innovations which offers a compact, safe, rechargeable, and high capacity battery. We are now using lithium ion batteries to power our mobile phones, tablets, and other gadgets. Large megawatt batteries can now be manufactured to store... read more

Germany: The Most Solar Efficient Country

For the past century, the world has relied mainly on fossil fuels as its primary source of energy. The problem is that we have also proven that the use of fossil fuels is affecting the ozone layer of our atmosphere. After years of speculation, there is now no doubt that global warming is real. Because of a hole in the ozone layer, we have decreased protection from the rays of the sun. As an effect, we are experiencing continued increase of global temperatures. Because of this, various national organizations are calling to use renewable energy to drive to use clean technologies to decrease the impact of global warming. The most explored kind of renewable energy is solar energy. From the name itself, solar energy is collected from the sun’s ray using photovoltaic modules in a solar panel. Installations of large amounts of solar panels can significantly increase the efficiency of its use. Nowadays, more and more countries are making the effort to shift to solar energy. Despite its initial cost, the payback of solar energy is significantly greater than using fossil fuels. Some of the countries that have increased solar installation and production include China, Japan, and Italy. But among all of the countries in the world, Germany is the most solar efficient country. One of the reasons why Germany has been the forerunner in solar energy is because of the mandatory codes implemented by the government to reduce non-renewable energy consumption by as much as 20 percent. Germany believes that the best kind of energy is the one you do not have to produce, which is how solar... read more